Stephanie Dinkins

Stephanie Dinkins

Conversations with Bina48

January 25, 2024 – May 19, 2024

Can a human and robot build an authentic relationship? Stephanie Dinkins’ Conversations with Bina48 addresses this question through a series of recorded conversations with one of the world’s most advanced social robots –– Bina48 (Breakthrough Intelligence via Neural Architecture 48 exaflops per second). Developed by the Terasem Movement Foundation, Bina48 employs customized artificial intelligence algorithms paired with microphones, video cameras, voice recognition software, and facial recognition software to develop independent thoughts and emotions based on data supplied by visitor dialogue. Working on the cutting edge of artificial intelligence, the Terasem Movement Foundation researches ways to transfer the consciousness of a living person to a machine. Bina48 was created to mimic the appearance and consciousness of the creator’s wife, an African American woman named Bina. Despite the brown rubber skin that covers the android, the robotics team that created Bina48 were primarily white men. The irony of white scientists creating a cyborgian Black woman is underscored in Dinkins conversations with Bina48 and the glitches that occur when Bina48 is faced with a living, breathing, African American woman. In their decade of conversations, Dinkins and Bina48 have discussed family, prejudice, faith, love, and death; conjuring a dialogue that is at times humorous and absurd, and other times, philosophical and deeply unnerving. Conversations with Bina48 explores the bounds of human consciousness, interrogating what separates man from machine, and highlighting the potential that technology enables to exist beyond our corporeal selves.

About Black Code

Black Code highlights Black contemporary artists making use of emergent technologies in their practice. The three artists on view complicate the assumed neutrality of digital technologies, reimagining machines into frameworks that function to assert and extend black subjectivity. The title of the exhibition is drawn from the 2017 special issue of The Black Scholar where cultural theorists, Mark Anthony Neal and Jessica Marie Johnson describe Black Code Studies as queer, femme, fugitive, and radical; as a praxis and methodology that refuses the notion that black people are not engaged with technology, modernity, or the future. In offering an exploration of Black creative engagement with technology, this exhibition demonstrates the potentiality of new media to construct an expansive vision of Blackness; one that resists the rigidity of hegemonic representations, and instead, leans into the formal capacity of abstraction, multiplicity and rupture to visualize Black contemporary life.


Stephanie Dinkins

Stephanie Dinkins is a transmedia artist who creates experiences that spark dialog about race, gender, aging, and our future histories. Her work in AI and other mediums uses emerging technologies and social collaboration to work toward technological ecosystems based on care and social equity. Dinkins’ experiences with and explorations of artificial intelligence have led to a deep interest in how algorithmic systems impact communities of color in particular and all of our futures more generally.

Dinkins’ experiments with AI have led full circle to recognize the stories, myths, and cultural perspectives, aka data, that we hold and share form and inform society and have done so for millennia. She has concluded that our stories are our algorithms. We must value, grow, respect, and collaborate with each other’s stories (data) to build care and broadly compassionate values into the technological ecosystems that increasingly support our future.

Dinkins teaches at Stony Brook University where she holds the Kusama Endowed Chair in Art. Dinkins earned an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and is an alumna of the Whitney Independent Studies Program. She exhibits and publicly advocates for inclusive AI internationally at a broad spectrum of community, private, and institutional venues. Dinkins is a 2021 United States Artist Fellow and Knight Arts & Tech Fellow. Previous fellowships, residencies and support include the Artist Fellow of the Berggruen Institute and Lucas Artists Fellow in Visual Arts at Montalvo Art Center, CA, Onassis Foundation, Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, Creative Capital, Soros Equality Fellowship, Data and Society Research Institute Fellowship, Sundance New Frontiers Story Lab, Eyebeam, Pioneer Works Tech Lab, NEW INC, Blue Mountain Center; The Laundromat Project; Santa Fe Art Institute and Art/Omi.

The New York Times featured Dinkins in its pages as an AI influencer. Wired, Art In America, Artsy, Art21, Hyperallergic, the BBC, Wilson Quarterly, and a host of popular podcasts have recently highlighted Dinkins’ art and ideas.


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